Four reindeer have died at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley from a deer virus that has also sickened four other reindeer in the herd.

State officials confirmed last week that the reindeer had contracted epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), a virus that emerged in Minnesota two years ago. The disease, which poses no health risks to people, is transmitted by midges and can kill deer within one to three days.

A zoo veterinarian in August noticed that a reindeer looked sick. After it died, a necropsy by a University of Minnesota laboratory detected EHD.

Zoo officials said they have isolated the reindeer from other hoofed animals, since the disease has no vaccine. In a statement, zoo director John Frawley said staffers were taking steps to deter the midges.



City OKs purchase of land for fire station

The Shoreview City Council has approved the purchase of land for a new station for the Lake Johanna Fire Department, in partnership with Arden Hills and North Oaks.

The Lake Johanna department, which serves the three Ramsey County cities, is planning a more centrally located station and administrative offices on Pine Tree Drive in Arden Hills, next to Bethel University. It will replace a station at Victoria Street and County Road E next to a busy railroad crossing in Shoreview.

The cost of the property, $1.675 million, will be apportioned among the three cities based on population, households, service calls and property values. Shoreview will contribute $840,000, Arden Hills $341,000 and North Oaks $194,000. The fire department will contribute $300,000 from its general fund.



Human rights board up and running again

The Anoka Human Rights Commission held its first meeting in eight years last week after talk of disbanding the commission due to inactivity sparked a renewed interest in the board.

Margaret Anderson, a resident who spearheaded an online petition to save the commission, was sworn in as its newest member and quickly elected chairwoman. She pushed for a change in the bylaws to have meetings every month rather than as needed, which had helped lead to the commission's dormant status.

Commissioners expressed interest in increasing membership to allow for greater representation. The terms of three commissioners expire at year's end, and several people have applied to replace them.

Kim Hyatt


Hennepin History Museum reopens

The Hennepin History Museum reopened its doors Sept. 10 after being closed for several months due to COVID-19 concerns.

The museum now requires visitors to wear masks and use an online admission ticketing system to ensure social distancing. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Two exhibits have been extended: "Votes for Women," on the fight of local women to win the vote 100 years ago, and "America's Finest Theatre," about the midcentury Terrace Theatre in Robbinsdale and the failed efforts to save it from the wrecking ball. The museum is in south Minneapolis' Whittier neighborhood.

Erin Adler